Chemicals, as effective and common as they are, are dangerous. This level of danger varies from chemical to chemical and the level of contact with these substances. For a business that has a large number of chemicals, there must be a storage location that follows strict guidelines to avoid injury to personnel.
You would not want to go into a storage area and handle an unknown leaking substance. It only takes a small mistake for a large range of harm to occur. Due to this, the Environmental Health and Safety Department has strict guidelines for the storage of these substances in bulk.
General Guidelines for Chemical Bulk Storage
Due to the long list of guidelines provided by EH&S, only a few of the important guidelines will be covered here. The most basic guidelines are as follows:
- Chemical containers must contain appropriate labels.
- Chemical storage locations should not contain any food or drinks.
- Each chemical should have its location where it must be returned after usage.
- The expiration date must be specified for chemicals that change properties over time.
- Chemical spill kits must be readily available at chemical bulk storage locations.
- Chemicals must be grouped with other chemicals of similar properties.
- Chemicals should not be exposed to sunlight or heat directly.
- Extreme temperatures should be avoided.
- Proper ventilation is required.
Certain chemicals are incompatible with other specific chemicals due to their reactivity. For example, acetic acid reacts explosively with acetaldehyde. Having these two chemicals side by side increases the chance of an explosion occurring due to spillage or leak. Hence, when storing chemicals, you must determine their compatibility before anything else.
Flammable chemicals require a special storage location to avoid catching on fire. For storage, a special fireproof room is required with the following specifications:
- Floors, walls, and ceilings should be able to resist fire for at least 2 hours.
- Doors must be self-closing and fireproof.
- The electrical equipment in the room must be explosion-proof and non-sparking.
Additionally, flammable liquids must be separated from solids and must be stored away from ignition sources.
Toxic chemicals can cause a large range of health problems depending on the type and amount of contact. Because of this, these substances must be stored in unbreakable containers that are resistant. In addition, the area in which they are stored must have very good ventilation.
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